More isn’t always better (even with exercise) – part II

I walked out of the health club yesterday feeling energized. I had a great workout, and didn’t get overly excited walking into the workout facility, thus over-exerting myself and setting myself up for injury. I went through a “typical” routine, and felt good about everything I accomplished.

I couldn’t wait for today.

This morning came, and I had another sense of looking forward to my exercise routine at the same health club. I was more comfortable walking in, and more familiar with my surroundings. But I also knew my tendencies, so I stuck with my plan and made sure to not do too much. Just my “normal” workout.

Fast forward to the end of the workout. I’m still feeling good about my situation, although I can tell that my right side (think mid-thoracic level) is a bit tighter than normal. I do some deep breathing, and can tell there is a mild strain of the muscle(s) in that area. Jump ahead about 2 hours after a tasty breakfast, and I am lying on the floor doing some deep breathing and working on some mobility to keep the area from locking up.

 

How did this happen? I had been so cautious during my workouts. I had been present to what I was doing before, during and after. Did I not perform exercises properly? I focused on breathing during the movements, made sure my range of motion was safe yet challenging, and didn’t go very heavy (for me) on any resistance training exercises. What went wrong?

As I see it, I didn’t account for the other factors going into the workout:

1) I had been traveling for 2 days in a vehicle to our destination, and my right lower back was already talking to me

2) Last night’s meal was a bit off target for me, as we out at a new restaurant and I indulged a bit (and the food was oh so good)

3) I didn’t get good sleep the night before due to going to bed late and waking up most of the night to very high winds outside (which in turn created a ghostly “whooooo” through the windows).

4) I didn’t warm up as much today due to a bit more time restriction at the health club

5) I had already worked pretty hard the day before

Combine all of the above, and my body was pretty taxed. I basically surpassed my nervous system’s threshold for what it can handle, and something had to give. So my body felt the need to tighten up my right side to make up for everything else that was going on.

 

What was my mistake? Thinking I could do the same exercise intensity, volume, or duration without taking into account all of the above factors. So even though I felt I stayed pretty tame with my workouts and didn’t go overboard, I actually did too much for the current circumstances as previously explained. What I should have done was decrease my work load, been content with getting in a lighter workout so that I was just mobile, and not expect forward progress while on vacation. It is vacation after all…

One thing clients and I repeatedly discuss is making good decisions based on our current situation, not some preconceived notion of what we should be doing based on past experiences or high standards we set because we feel like we should be able to meet them.

Sounds like I better go over that again with myself.

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More isn’t always better (even with exercise)

I get to work out at a local health club today while on vacation. This is something I usually enjoy quite a bit, as I just love a new environment to get in some exercise. Those with ADHD know the importance of getting in intense exercise on a daily basis, and how it can affect our moods and our minds (I’ll go into the neurological and biochemical reasons why in a future post).

But here is where I can get into trouble…my excitement for the workout sometimes overrides my knowledge and expertise. I’ll get right into the session – not warming up for as long as I usually do, not having a plan going into it, and not listening to or being in tune with my body. Basically going back to my former ways of training when I was a novice. No pain, no gain.

 

There are two problems with this:

1) I won’t experience the positive effects that go along with an appropriate workout on that day for my body (because every day and every body is different)

2) It won’t set up the rest of my day to make clearer choices in just about anything (healthy eating choices, how I’ll react to my children, am I being attentive to my spouse’s needs, am I present to what is going on around me?)

And this is where we need to realize that not all exercise is created equal. Of the little research or articles written on exercise and ADHD, much of it states that it doesn’t matter what types of exercise it is as long as it gets done. I feel we need to take it a step further and get the optimal exercise for that individual, while practicing mindfulness techniques no matter the type of exercise (intervals, yoga, weight training – again described further in a future post). Just as not all ADHD is the same, not all exercise is the same. How you do it is just as important as what you do.

Think of it this way…when doctors prescribe medicine, they provide a dosage that is going to help manage or eliminate the cause/symptoms appropriately and effectively. Too little and you’re looking at an ineffective dose and possibly longer recovery period. Too much and it may be fatal.

The same applies to exercise dosage. Too little and you won’t get the stimulus necessary to have the body adapt. Too much, and you may override the brain’s ability to keep you safe (muscle pulls, connective tissue tears, etc.).

 

There especially needs to be a proper balance of exercise when it comes to ADHD. Exercise (especially intense exercise) can help with improved concentration, uplifted mood, and being present. But going beyond what our bodies can handle when exercising (more, more! MORE!) also means a greater chance for increased wear and tear on the body, or worse. This can lead to time off from workouts, which translates to all of the negatives of not getting in the necessary physical exertion that stimulates the ADHD mind in such a positive manner.

So as I head to the local health club, I will:

1) have a plan for my workout

2) warm up thoroughly

3) be completely “in it” during every exercise

4) be thankful I get the opportunity to do it

And I will know that I have set up my day to be better with the appropriate challenge for my body on this day.

No pain, all gain.

 

 

Routine on Spring Break (and any other trip)

Vacation, for me, tends to mean a break from schedules and the every day tasks that make up my daily existence. Sure there may be plans during trips I take, but otherwise it is a break from routine.

And that can be a dangerous thing.

I have had a sense of well-being, productivity, and all around clarity with some of the new habits I have brought into my life lately. Things like:

  1. My daily ritual of meditation
  2. My daily lemon water with Braggs apple cider vinegar in the morning before breakfast and 1 hour before bed at night.
  3. My daily workout (yes, even us personal trainers can get bogged down with life and not make time to exercise as much as we should)
  4. My daily use of essential oils at work and before going to bed
  5. Multiple alarms as reminders (take vitamins, work duties, pick up the kids, etc.)

Notice the common denominator: DAILY. When these things are in place and part of my day-to-day routine, I notice it. And my brain notices it.

I can think clearer, I have more energy, I don’t forget things (as much), and I am just a nicer person to be around. If I am on my schedule and not worrying about all of the things floating around in my head, I am more patient and generally more pleasant.

So what to do? Keep on my schedule as best as possible. This morning, I was up at 6am before everyone else, made my lemon water, and proceeded to do a 10 minute morning meditation with my insight-timer app.

I feel better, and feel like the day is going to be a good one. This is because I have prepared my mind for what is to come, and put a bit of my daily rituals into practice on vacation.

I will say, it is nice not having all of my alarms set.

Now where did I put those vitamins?…

What is ADHD Personal Trainer?

My new blog. The focus of this blog is to discuss how physical activity, mindfulness, nutrition, relationships, meditation, spirituality, supplementation, and many other things can affect those who live life with ADHD.

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional, nor can I or will I diagnose anyone as to whether they do or do not have ADHD.